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NEPA Investigating Illegal Lignum Vitae Export

Published Date: September 02, 2020

                                Attention: All News Editors                                     KINGSTON, Jamaica

(September 2, 2020):

                                        NEPA INVESTIGATING ILLEGAL LIGNUM VITAE EXPORT

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is investigating a report of the illegal export of a sculpture made from Lignum Vitae to a Western European Country. The Agency was notified by the Country’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Management Authority on August 21, 2020. The craft item has been seized by the importing country, pending the investigation.

All exports of products made from the Lignum Vitae plant require an export permit from NEPA, as the Lignum Vitae species, which is the national flower of Jamaica is listed as threatened by CITES, and is categorised as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Stiff penalties for offenders

Morjorn Wallock, Director of the Legal and Enforcement Division at NEPA said, “It is strongly recommended that persons apply for their export permit. Failure to do so may result in legal action that is far more costly. Individuals who fail to secure an export permit are liable for prosecution under the Endangered Species (Protection, Conservation and Regulation of Trade) Act. If convicted before a parish court, they may be fined two million dollars or be imprisoned for a term not exceeding two years. Both fine and conviction may be applied.”

She added, “If convicted in the Circuit Court on an indictment, persons may be fined and/or be imprisoned for a term not exceeding ten years. Specimen will also be seized by the importing CITES Country and the exporter charged under their respective national legislation.”

How to apply for CITES Certificates and Permits

Applications for the trade of endangered species are to be made using the prescribed application form, available on the Agency’s website at Completed application forms are to be submitted to The Protection and Conservation Sub-division of the National Environment and Planning Agency, along with the application fee. All applications are processed by the Agency’s Management and Scientific Authorities prior to the granting of permits and certificates.

Note to the editor

How CITES was established

CITES, which addresses the trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora was signed on March 3, 1973 and was entered into force on June 22, 1997 in Jamaica. Its main purpose is to ensure that no species of wild fauna and flora becomes or remains subject to unsustainable exploitation because of unregulated international trade.

In Jamaica, the trade in wild flora and fauna are regulated under the following legislations:

  1. The Endangered Species (Protection, Conservation and Regulation of Trade) Act, and Regulations
  2. The Plants (Quarantine) Act and Regulations
  3. The Animals (Disease and Importation) Act, and Regulations
  4. The Aquaculture, Island and Marine Products and By-Products (Inspection Licensing and Export) Act and Regulations


Public Education and Corporate Communication Branch (PECCB)

National Environment and Planning Agency

Tel: 876-754-7540, ext. 2759; Fax: 876-754-7596